Archives for posts with tag: JerseyShore

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A variety of ingredients, all stirred-up with the beach as the backdrop and intoxicating — that was the music scene in New Jersey this past summer, almost over but maybe a few more warm breezes of sound before the end of the year.
It all starts well before the students get out of school and family SUV’s invading the beach.  In fact, it never ends with the venues and nightclubs that dot the Shore like fortresses against the winter chill.

A recent rainy night at The Saint, a smaller Asbury Park brother to the Stone Pony, dripped like a melting jello shot.  Blues artists, locals like Pat Guadagno, and distant, Jon Dee Graham from the Texas border country, brought together audience and performers, a few of us reluctant to abandon flip-flops. The Saint is only two decades old, but within it reminds of heartbreaks you think you had gotten over. It’s not only about more established performers but also younger acts. My first trip to The Saint was several years earlier to see a young Staten Island band “Hollywood Hangover” with a dynamic front man, Walter Pehowich.

On to the Summer Stage


Brookdale Public Radio 90.5 The Night, one of the country’s few remaining public-supported and commercial-free stations, keeps Indy music flowing like a warm drink until it moves to its “Summer Stage” and the Beach in Belmar.  Not all the acts conquered the Stage, but then others who may be overlooked surged upon the audience. This year it was Ben Fuller, Simone Felice, and 7Horse, who rose out of the sand to parlay a gritty, rock & roll that you could feel grinding between your toes.

Jersey Shore music is complemented by the surf as humidity bastes New Orleans and Mississippi Delta Blues. The common components are the venues and performers that are in daily combat with obscurity, winning on the day of the show with their audiences but too frequently forgotten the next morning.  Record contracts may be the hope but success is defined by an immersed audience, and perhaps a slightly larger fan base after their one night stand.  As with Brookdale Radio, the front man for alternative rock on the Shore, the changing business model offers few options to both the highly talented and the entertainingly persistent. Long Branch’s Celtic Cottage frequently lives up to its Irish ambiance but also offers a regular stage for such rising talents as Steve Reilly, accompanying guitarist Steve DeVito, and the “Rain Band.” (See: Steve Reilly in his original “Skeleton Trees”)

“Tim, Andy, & Joe” bring guitar cohesion to the far-flung 9th Avenue Pier that has advanced as a sunset refuge overlooking Shark River. The Dublin House, Taste, and Jamian’s in Red Bank offer unique venues that bring together demographically some of the most diverse audiences. Monday night is not only a night for football, wings, and beer, but Pat Guadagno at Jamian’s and one of the best covers of “I Am a Patriot” and the “Sultans of Swing” with amazing acoustic guitar. Back in Asbury Park, when not playing for the UN’s “Global Citizen” platform, Sandy Mack puts together some of the most compelling jam sessions from such diverse venues as upscale McLoone’s Supper Club to the “doggie bar” defined Wonder Bar, the two venues separated by the width of a street on the still evolving Boardwalk.

If this blog sounds as a celebration or roll call of Jersey Shore music, at least in part it is. “Jersey Strong” became the slogan after the devastation following Hurricane Sandy, (See: “Linked by Tragedy of Disaster – Revived by Music”)  but neither sympathy nor obstinance could define recovery without a compilation and lineup that is Jersey Song. Jersey summer song is defined by the music festival, particularly the three venues — Asbury Park, Long Branch, and Point Pleasant — and dates of the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Festival.

Refrain & Harmony – “Exit 0” “Exit 0”

It usually starts and ends at the southernmost tip of the Jersey Shore and the Garden State Parkway, the “Exit 0 International Jazz Festival” in Cape May. (See: Where the Road Ends, the Music Begins)  Every May the town lives up to its celebration of the return, before the Cape’s population swells from the 3 or 4 thousand full-timers to the hundreds of thousands that feed the mood of summer.

Jazz & the Power of Seduction

Exit 0 International Jazz Festival Executive Producer, Michael Kline, is a former New Orleans resident, jazz radio host, and music-artist agent. He describes jazz, America’s original art form, as speaking “a universal language that has the power to transcend, to rejuvenate, to cleanse, to energize, and to unite.”

This Spring all my senses were titillated in the cultural tourism mecca that is Cape May.  The Festival was a three-day magical cocktail of world-class musicians, a variety of musical genres, regional epicurean delights, and a vive d’esprit infused by a seductive ocean breeze permeating the atmosphere.

I’m not a synesthete and able to see or taste music like my husband, Ambassador Mo Sacirbey, and friend and renowned author, Maureen Seaberg, who together with her husband accompanied us to the Festival and stay at the Victorian Motel.  However, all my senses blended to propel Maureen and me onto the stage of Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers.  It was the headliner’s grand finale, “A Night in New Orleans,” and Kermit did request a dance card from us — “all ladies on stage.”  As George Gershwin said: “Life is a lot like jazz — it’s better when you improvise.” We did, also joining the revelry of a New Orleans second-number.

This Round Over, but Last Call Will be in November

A concoction of everything seductive: Jazz – Latin, New Orleans, Ethio; Blues –  Soul – R&B – Rock- Hip Hop – Funk – Gospel – and Reggae is on the bill of fare November 7-9 at the autumn Exit 0 International Jazz event Meet Your Music and award-winning, critically acclaimed artists, compelling rising nouveau artists, and local favorites. Join Headliners who perform at Cape May Convention Hall, and sample over 30 sets of music in intimate club venues in this veritable jazz village: The Boiler Room in Congress Hall, Carney’s Main Room & Other Room, Cabanas, and Aleathea’s.

Be Seduced and Fall in Love with the Four Headliners

The Cookers –  Friday, November 7, 6:30pm: This jazz supergroup has included Exit 0 Jazz Fest as part of its 2014-15 world tour. A melting pot of melodic, harmonic sophistication, the sax, trumpet, piano, and drums set the mood for an evening of mesmerizing expectation.

Jon Batiste & Stay Human – Friday, November 7, 9pm:  This up and coming young artist has been described as “electric” – “compelling.” He hails from a New Orleans musical family, advocates for Music Education as a Traveling Ambassador for Music Unites, is a cast frequent on HBO’s Treme, and captivated the audience in Stephen Colbert’s Colbert Report. Pure stamina, accessibility, and appreciation in live performance just may have you join in a “second line.”

Rene Marie – Saturday, November 8, 6:30pm: A top vocalist whose sultry,  sensuous voice is a magnet to draw you into her evening’s performance. This diva’s provocative and risk-taking tribute to the legendary Eartha Kit has heralded artistic acclaim.  Says Rene Marie: “Vulnerability and Sensuality, they’re sides of the same coin.”

Monty Alexander & the Harlem-Kingston Express – Saturday, November 8, 9pm:  Being born on D-Day (June 6, 1944) just may have been a harbinger to  legendary greatness and multi-Grammy Award nominations. Jamaican born, New York based, influenced by Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole, this dynamic pianist provides a blending chemistry of Jamaican reggae music and North American jazz.  Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Miles Davis were among his earliest supporters. In 1963, Monty Alexander was hired by Jilly Rizzo to work his New York City club “Jilly’s” accompanying Jersey idol, Frank Sinatra.  Monty Alexander is a guaranteed, good time sensational climax to the evening at Convention Hall.


The drink, “Sex on the Beach” has a few variations, from the International Bartenders Official Association version to the one favored by Hard Rock Cafe. Regardless of preference, the combinations as well as variety define Shore Music, and frequently new ingredients and blends thrown in on the spur. Still, there is a tradition and style that flows like a current and a warm Summer breeze.  —  Exit 0 International Jazz Festival’s fall showcase will keep those Summer Winds
blowing and caressing.  Reminisce Frank Sinatra’s nostalgic rendition of “Summer Wind.”

For more information about Exit 0 International Jazz Festival, check out here:

Susan Sacirbey

Celebrating with Kermit Ruffins – Cape May &
Summer Stage of Songwriters on the Beach – Belmar


Cape May, New Jersey with its historic Victorian architecture may appear to share little with New Orleans, but when the end of the road meets the water, music become the vessel for cultural exploration. Key West is an outpost of year-round hedonism; Rotterdam is the port to Europe; Monterey is a Pacific biosphere; and New Orleans, well is New Orleans. Over the last couple of decades, Cape May the tail of New Jersey, has been promoting its own musical identity from beyond the tradition of summer family fun surrounded by the sea, to a Singer/Songwriters gathering that consumes a spring weekend, to an International Jazz Festival.

Open Mic becomes a Rock & Blues Concert!

Music has become an instrument of healing along much of the Jersey Coast after a devastating Hurricane Sandy. See: Linked by Tragedy of Disaster – Revived by Music largely avoided the destruction of shore communities further north, but with New Jersey’s ever more recognized music culture, Cape May is now a cornerstone of venues and artists. A couple of weekends earlier, Ambassador Mo and I wandered into the Mad Batter on a late Sunday afternoon. The sleepy exterior of a town still waking from a long winter was dissolved in our preconceptions as an open-mic evening broke into one of the more memorable music concerts bringing together unique local and national talent. We went to sleep that night at the Victorian Inn pleasantly relaxed by the robust air and fresh sounds reverberating. I must admit my voice was a bit hoarse as I could not resist joining in a few songs, among them Delaware Bay and I Love Cape May.

We first ventured to Cape May as the ferry connection that links New Jersey with the Delmarva Peninsula. A couple more times we had the opportunity to explore the rich ecology of the wetlands as well as walk the endless beaches. Thus, the inner town of Cape May was a bit of a discovery when we meandered into what was then the “Cape May Jazz Festival.”

Exit 0 International Jazz Festival:   

There is at least another person in Cape May who knows the meaning of “Le Bon Temps Roule” (Let the good times roll.) Michael Kline is a former New Orleans resident, jazz radio host, and music-artist agent who is now the Producer of the aptly named “Exit 0 International Jazz Festival.” (Cape May is the last exit or exit zero on the Garden State Parkway.) With a glass of wine by the fireplace of the Brown Room in historic Congress Hall, Michael gave me a bit of his longer-term vision as well as current plans for the Festival – as much a “blues” as it is jazz festival.

Like the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Exit Zero Fest is more inclusive of a broader variety of music and artists from around the globe. Some of its more prominent musicians are ambassadors for their art and represent a rising tide of diplomat-artists. In the near future, Exit 0 International Jazz Festival seeks to become one of the linchpins in the rosary of international festivals, most of which start where the road ends: Rotterdam, Monterey, Newport, New Orleans, etc.

Surf & Sounds

This year Exit 0 will initiate a late spring, May 30 – June 1 (as well fall event, November 7-9, 2014.)  A three-day, weekend trifecta of over 100 international musicians with a palette of styles ranging from jazz, soul, blues, and R&B will entertain tourists in the Nation’s oldest seashore resort, also a National Historic Landmark City. The Emlen Physick Estate on Saturday will be transformed into an outdoor stage venue with world-class performances and a variety of styles: Daisy Castro, a violinist with Gypsie-Jazz Influence; Vince Giordano’s 20’s & 30’s music heard on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire; Matuto’s Appalachian-gone-Afro-Brazilian sound; and culminating with Jon Cleary, born in England, but New Orleans bred, whose great hooks and slanky New Orleans feel cements a great experience. Jazz at the Estate celebrates a quarter-century for the Cape May Music Festival and is a new collaboration between Exit 0 Jazz and Cape May Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC.)

Infused European-style, like Charleston’s Spoleto, and the ever present sound of the surf accompanies visitors as they stroll from venue to vendor, all senses to be tantalized. Epicurean delights including South Jersey foods, locally produced wines, spirits, and brews, and of course crafts and great shopping satisfy that other appetite.

World Meets the Cape

Festival Headliners will appear each night at Convention Hall:

– Dee Dee Bridgewater, American Jazz vocalist, thrice Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter,  and UN Goodwill Ambassador will captivate the stage Friday. This global diva has performed the world stage at the inaugural International Jazz Day Concert at UN Headquarters organized jointly by UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.  In fact, April 30th has been designated International Jazz Day, which spotlights jazz as a diplomatic bridge uniting cultures and people around the world.

Visitors will not have to travel to Strasbourg – Saint-Denis, Paris to hear American Jazz Trumpeter, two-time Grammy Award Winner, Roy Hargrove. Having played with legends Wynton Marsalis (who coincidentally discovered his talent while visiting Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Visual Arts) and Herbie Hancock, Hargrove will have his audience caught in the verve of kool jazz and a blend of funk, hip-hop, soul, and gospel Saturday night.

– The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Kermit Ruffins & The Barbecue Swingers is an apropos finale to a special “A Night in New Orleans”.  If you haven’t experienced Kermit at his former New Orleans speakeasy or New Orleans Jazz Fest, perhaps you heard his unique funk and brass on the set of HBO’s Treme.  Influenced by Louis Armstrong, this native New Orleans great will have the audience moving to his vocals and trumpet climaxing Sunday night.

Throughout the weekend, club venues like The Boiler Room in Congress Hall, Carney’s, Cabanas, Harvey’s Bar & Grille, Marq’s Pub, and Aleathea’s open their doors to revelry, great music, and lagniappe — Cajun, for a little something extra.

You get a special feeling when crossing the bridge into Cape May.  Even if you’ve never been there before, you’ll have a deja vu experience. Exit 0 International Jazz Festival is a month away, and I can’t wait; for I Love Cape May.

Lyrics to “I Love Cape May,” by Kevin Mulderig

When we were young there was little pay
The Jersey shore seemed far away
But we went down whenever we could
Mostly we just went to Wildwood
Then I met a girl from the tip of the state
She took me there and we learned to skate
Round and round at Convention Hall
Switching partners we answered the call

Now I love Cape May
From the beach to the bay
I Love the bars and the restaurants
The waitresses and the debutantes
The candy stores and the hot dog joint
Watching birds at Cape May Point
This town if full of history
It’s the story of you and me
On the beach with the kids in tow
We watch them play we watch them grow
A piece of fudge at the penny arcade
Walk along the promenade
Shorts and sweatshirts against the night
Down the shore everything’s alright


The sound of music is everywhere
Like gingerbread and the fine salt air
It’s in the fabric of this old town
Nothing here to bring you down
Sunset beach at the end of the day
The flag is folded and put away
Stones reflect the sun’s last ray
As it slips into the bay

For more information about Exit 0 International Jazz Festival, check out
PHOTOS: Courtesy of Michael Kline, Exit 0 International Jazz Festival

Susan Sacirbey @DiplomaticallyX
Facebook – Become a Friend “Susan Sacirbey”


Linked by Tragedy of Disaster – Revived by Music

From my “Compelling Journey” series, have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend.
— Susan Sacirbey

Aishwaraya Rai Bachachan is a global star, from India to the US, & she has made films & music videos from New Jersey’s shore to Bollywood. She is no ordinary Jersey Girl though, & has become a UN Goodwill Ambassador.